How can warming up a small point on a little toe make something happen in the womb?

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Of course, many people ask me how it works. How can warming up a small point on a little toe make something happen in the womb?

Moxa-therapy in breech presentations

A few years ago I was invited by Ineke van Berg, a methodologist associated with the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. She was also very interested in moxa-therapy in breech presentations, especially as there are scientific articles about this in leading medical journals (including JAMA Journal of American Medical Association). She also saw that, if it is valid, many women would have a greater chance of having a natural childbirth and that the high costs of medical care in the Netherlands could also be significantly reduced by this. Anyway, I was approached to participate in repeating this research in the Netherlands. A few students were involved in writing the research protocol and of course, processes that could explain the effects of moxa-therapy needed to be defined. However, this therapy comes from traditional Chinese medicine and comes from a time when the processes involved was explained in a way that is very foreign to us. Nevertheless, they succeeded in developing two good hypotheses.

It is thought that the womb will get better blood circulation due to the Calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP). This is a neurotransmitter that in this case causes uterine vessel dilatation. Researchers also think that the inhibitory effects of the enzyme called Cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2), reduces uterine muscle tone down to resting state, giving the baby more room to move.

Scientists commonly admit that it works, without actually knowing how it works.

The treatment

Moxa-therapy is completely painless and can be carried out at home, and the most important aspect of it is, research has shown that through moxa-therapy, the chances of a baby turning spontaneously are increased from 50% to 75%.

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The science

At this moment, the most common treatment for a baby in breech presentation is an external turn. The gynaecologist will try to turn the baby externally, by hand. About 80% of the women with a baby in breech presentation will ultimately have a caesarean operation. They would rather experience a natural delivery.

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During the more than 6500 instructions on how to use moxa-therapy for breech position, the following questions were asked most frequently. 

Frequently Asked Questions about moxa-treatment


“As I have just said on the answerphone: our baby has turned! Hopefully it won’t turn back again!”

-- Marieke Esser/ Mark Eshuis

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